Kerr fires an early broadside

In our New Year’s Day edition, this column suggested that 2015 could be an even more tumultuous year politically than the previous referendum-obsessed 12 months.

“The SNP, far from licking its wounds after the No camp’s victory, has seen its membership more than treble, with pundits predicting that the party will hit Labour hard,” we wrote.

And so it came to pass – on May 7.

With the nationalists bagging all but three of the country’s 59 Westminster seats – including the former Liberal Democrat stronghold of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk – fireworks were always likely in that legislature down by the banks of the Thames. English votes for English laws, UK Government rejection of SNP amendments and fox hunting have already lit the blue touchpaper.

And, maintaining the incendiary vein, Borders MP Calum Kerr, in his maiden speech last week, accused ministers of being “comatose” when it came to looking after the interests of farming communities and savaged Chancellor George Osborne’s “crippling austerity Budget”.

In the immediate aftermath of May’s general election, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon vowed to make Scotland’s voice heard at Westminster – Calum Kerr seems just as determined to do that so far as the Borders is concerned.